Girls earn their badge of honour

Somerville House students this week joined more than 17,000 girls who have earned their badge of honour since the tradition began in 1906.

The School badges are presented to girls after one semester or six months when they have a better understanding of the values and culture of Somerville House, said Principal, Dr Ness Goodwin. 

“It is a visual reminder the Somerville girls are bound together through our passion for the School,” Dr Goodwin said. 

“Our School Motto, Honour Before Honours, presents staff and students a challenge in a competitive and materialistic society to maintain the highest personal standards of integrity,” she said.

“It also challenges us to keep as our goal that the ideals of behaviour and achievement are more worthwhile and important than recognition from others.”

The students were given their badges at Assembly where the significance and history of the design was explained: 

The Crest, designed by the architect Robin Dods, first appeared on the cover of the December Magazine in 1902.  It represents ‘Wisdom standing on the Book of Knowledge bearing the Lamp of Truth’ over the School motto, Honour Before Honours, which dates from the School's foundation.

In 1906 the Sports Club had a silver badge struck bearing the School crest and motto. This was followed some years later by the silver and enamel badge brooch which is only issued to girls after they have been at the School for six months.  The badge originally had an ornamental border but the simple, unaltered badge has been used since 1923.

In 1912 the original School colours of yellow and white were changed to navy, blue and green.In the same year a hatband was adopted with three even stripes — blue/green/blue — with the woven crest in the centre and ‘BGHS’ on either side.  Since 1949 the name ‘Somerville House’ was mounted on the top and the side letters omitted.

There is a significance to the blue, green and white colours of the School badge:

  • Blue is associated with Loyalty and is a reminder of the need to be faithful in all things and to be true to the high standards of conduct traditional in our School, in work, in games, in living together.  It also challenges us to conscientious work, sincere friendship, considerate behaviour and responsible attitudes.
  • Green is associated with plant foliage and therefore with growth. It makes us aware of our need to develop in body, mind and spirit. Fulfilment, which is the purpose of growth, may be achieved in mature womanhood, being alert, gracious and thoughtful.
  • White traditionally represents purity.  To us this means wholesomeness of mind, purity of heart and sanity of outlook. These virtues are evident in words that are controlled and true, and in actions that are upright and kind.

The central figure of the badge represents Wisdom standing upon, or emerging from, the open book representing Knowledge. In her hand is the lamp, representing Truth. The close association of these three reminds us that Knowledge alone is barren unless studied by the light of the lamp of Understanding. Combined with life experience, these three tenets enable us to acquire a Wisdom to be placed at the service of others.